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Post in Acne-Prone Skin

Best acne kit?

I have never posted here before, but I am DESPERATE! I have tried so many different products for acne. I'm 18 years old, and have dealt with breakouts nonstop since I was in middle school. Of course there were times where it wasn't AS bad, but bad enough. My main problem areas tend to be on my cheeks and my chin, however lately my forehead has been very broken out (didn't really used to be an issue before). I try to keep my hair off of my face, and it is my whole forehead, so I don't think that that is my problem. I have tried everything - drugstore products, proactiv, murad, etc. and even went to the dermatologist when I was younger. He had me try different mixes of drugstore cleansers and prescription gels etc. My mom says that I was on an antibiotic for a period of time as well, however I don't remember this. After spending long enough there, (I was still fairly young - probably in middle school, so I wasn't quite as diligent with my skincare routine), I gave up on the dermatologist because I didn't feel that I was getting any better results. I struggled with it all throughout high school. The last two 'sets' I used were Mary Kay and Clinique. Mary Kay seemed to work for a while, but it seemed that my skin got used to it after a while. As for clinique, it was too harsh for my skin. 


I have pretty oily skin, as well as a bit of redness and hyper-pigmentation. I'm ready to try something new, and hoping that all goes well. Even though I tried it before, I have thought about trying Murad again. I have seen some really good reviews, but there was also some people that absolutely hate it. I don't want to become one of those who use it for the full month and look a whole lot worse. I have also considered the Philosophy acne kit, the Peter Thomas Roth kit, and the Formula 10.0.6 kit. I have researched all three of these, and they all have mainly good feedback. 


Has anyone used these, and can say what they like? Or is there something else out there that I should look into?


Right now, I'm using Cetaphil foaming oil control wash for acne prone skin, a rotation of St. Ives apricot scrub and green tea scrub, a witch hazel toner, neutrogena naturals acne spot treatment, and a sephora moisturizer. 

I did use the Korres toner for a period of time, and really liked it - however the ingredients were comparable to the witch hazel toner I am using now. 

Re: Best acne kit?

I feel for you, because this can be such a tricky issue to deal with. I'm 30 and still have bad breakouts.

I've had success with Murad. I find the regular acne cleanser to be too harsh, but I like the moisturizer and treatments from the acne line a whole lot.
Have you tried anything with retinol? I found that this really tends to help my acne, as does products with tea tree oil.
I would advise against the St Ives Apricot scrub- it is so harsh and can really aggravate skin and redness. My facialist always suggests I use a chemical exfoliator (a do-at-home peel, I use the Murad Intensive C Radiance Peel) rather than a physical scrub.

Hang in there!

Re: Best acne kit?

Thank you! It's good to hear straight from a person about what has worked for them. I have heard a lot about tea tree oil, but I don't know what products to look for containing it. Could you recommend anything? Would I need to go to a dermatologist for anything with retinol? 

I've heard that the St. Ives scrub is harsh, but I've also heard that some have success, so I figured I would try it. I'll have to cut that out! 

I have the algenist exfoliator, but I haven't tried any peels and will have to look into that as well.


I have heard of people that really like certain Murad products - some say that they use the Boscia cleanser and toner, but the treatments and oil mattifyier from Murad. Are there any specific cleansers that you would recommend?


Thank you!!


Re: Best acne kit?

When I tried the Murad Clarifying Cleanser, which is their regular acne line cleanser, it was so harsh my skin got red and awful. I have had much better success with the Time Release Acne Cleanser, which is much milder.


As to tea tree oil, I get mine at The Body Shop. They have a whole line of acne products based on it, but I just use the regular old oil and apply it directly to blemishes. It is very soothing and effective. You can probably find plain tea tree oil at any pharmacy, though.


As to retinol, once you needed a doctor to get it, but now it is in just about everything. I'd recommend trying some less-expensive products first to see if a) it helps and b) you have a bad reaction before shelling out for the high-end products.  Neutrogena makes some good retinol cremes which are available in drug stores or target or wherever. 

Re: Best acne kit?

Thank you so much! This helps a lot!

Re: Best acne kit?

I have delt with that issue as well and still fight with it now and just turned 40.  I found I had to see a dermatologist I went on Accutane at it worked miracles.  I used Pro Active with good results but like any benzoyl peroxide product it does bleach out pillow cases and such.  I really would try a dermatologist they can also help recommend products that work.

Re: Best acne kit?

I may have to try the dermatologist, I guess that probably one of the best things that I could do for my skin. Thanks!

Re: Best acne kit?

I, too, have used Murad with success for two years, but then of course, it didn't last. The purging process was crazy I remember because before it got better, my skin got super oily and my breakouts were so prominent. It also didn't help that I was living in a humid city at the time. Now, I only use the Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion and the Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15. I've found better success with glycolic acid cleansers, such as DERMAdoctor's Ain't Misbehavin' AHA/BHA Cleanser. I use Origins Zero Oil toner because it contains salicylic acid in it, which is rare I've noticed because a lot of toners out there just contain alcohol, which removes a lot of dirt, but doesn't really help with acne. Oh yeah, I would stay away from scrubs. I have never met a physical exfoliant that didn't make my acne worse during the many many years I've had acne. Glycolic acid is a good chemical exfoliant to try without the abrasive factor. I hope this helps and good luck!

Re: Best acne kit?

The algenist exfoliator really seems to be good on my skin and leaves it feeling well (but I only use it about once a week, which is why I forgot to list it here!). I'm sure that I definitely need to get away from the St. Ives, though. 


Would the glycolic acid cleanser be okay to use as my regular cleanser, twice daily? And as far as toners, if I used the toner with salicylic acid, what other treatments would I need to incorporate as far as salicylic acid, etc. go? 


Some people say to use a moisturizer in addition to the Murad, should I do that as well?


Thank you!

Re: Best acne kit?

Hi, kristalann!  I understand your situation.  You are fortunate that you have so many more option today than I did in my day.  My personal opinion is that (if possible) find a different dermatologist and try again.  There is no one-size-fits-all for getting acne under control.  It takes time and different products, so it can be a slow and arduous process.  Birth control pills and two courses of Accutane were part of my treatment.  What I'm saying is you may or may not need more than a skin care kit (I'm not trying to scare you--I've just been there and don't want you to suffer!).  You're doing a great service to yourself by taking this first step here at BT!

Re: Best acne kit?

I understand completely - thank you! I will be scheduling an appointment at a different dermatologist on Monday! 

Re: Best acne kit?

I'm 23 and am finally figuring out what works for me. I've tried proactive and have been to the dermatologist through my teen years and even within the past 3 months. I've tried oral and topical medicine. I've tried so many different face washes and I have now found something that works for me. First of all, I read about the honey and cinnamon facial. You take all natural honey (from an all natural produce store) and mix it with cinnamon (I didn't measure it out, just poured it into my hand each night- enough to lightly cover the face) and you put it on your face before bed for two weeks straight. It brings your acne to the surface, so don't be discouraged. It brings acne to the surface and when you wash your face, its like the acne comes out your pores. So it's better for your skin than popping zits. I recommended this to my 17 year old acne prone brother and he has seen amazing results. As of now, I'm using proactive face wash, for toner I use apple cigar vinegar which can sting so make sure not to get it in your eyes if you decide to try),  and for night time I use retinol. This is just what has worked for me, believe it or not the honey and cinnamon has worked wonders!! I break out significantly less and the pimples heal faster. I hope for the best for you, I know how damaging acne can be to your self esteem. 

Re: Best acne kit?

I have used a honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon mask before and I really liked it. That mask was meant mainly for acne scarring, though. How long do you leave the honey and cinnamon on your skin each night? And for regular skin care, do you use the proactive wash 2x daily, as well as the apple cider vinegar? What kind of moisturizer do you use with that? 

Re: Best acne kit?

For the honey and cinnamon mask, I put it on before bed and sleep with it on. It can be tough though to keep your hair out of it and you'll get honey on your pillow case but it washes off. So i leave themoney and cinnamon for about 6-7 hours, however much sleep Inight that night. For the proactive face wash and apple cider vinegar, I do that twice a day- once at morning and at night. For moisturizer, I use a generic moisturizer. Nothing special. 

Re: Best acne kit?

Okay, thank you. I will definitely be trying the mask.

Re: Best acne kit?

One thing I am worried about is that you pointed out is this: redness. Redness tends to be a sign of irritation so, it might be something that you might want to look into.  For the Witch Hazel toner, does it include alcohol?  Alcohol can be an irritant which would certainly cause redness and irritation.


One question: Do you naturally have pinkness to your skintone or do you find the redness comes after washing your face/using products.

Re: Best acne kit?

It honestly seems as if my face gains the redness throughout the day. I do sometimes experience a bit of redness right after my skincare regimen, but I have always experienced this, no matter which products I use. I am always very gentle with my face, so I have sort of felt as if the main thing that could cause me to be red then is rubbing in my moisturizer, etc. 


The witch hazel does have natural grain alcohol (14%). Could you recommend an alcohol free toner? 


It really does seem that for some reason, my face becomes red during the day. Along the edges, my face has a more yellowish tone. Where I have the unevenness, mainly around my cheeks, is where I am primarily pinkish/reddish :/ 

Re: Best acne kit?

I have sensitive acne prone skin too & what I found works best is a moisturizer with an SPF.  I find keeping my skin protected minimizes my breakouts, I also cleanse in the morning & evening, but I don't stick to one product for cleansing.  I think some SPF might work for you too!  My face used to be soo red, but the reddness faded dramatically after about 3 months of using a moisturizer with SPF.

Re: Best acne kit?

What kind of moisturizer do you use?

I was using the Olay sensitive skin moisturizer for a while, and I did like it. At the time, I was also using a benzoyl peroxide spot treatment, which my skin got used to. I switched to the Clinique line, then back to more gentle products. Then I ended up using the cetaphil oil control moisturizer with SPF, but it made my foundation look like it was separating in some areas. So, now I'm back to the Sephora moisturizer that I LOVE; it makes my face feel sooo soft. I'm not opposed to switching back to an SPF moisturizer, though 

Re: Best acne kit?

I've dealt with acne for more than ten years, and I'm still searching for the "miracle" products or regimen too! But I have discovered some products that do help. 


I've also tried a lot of the popular acne kits, including Proactiv and Murad, and both of them were horrible for me. I'm slightly allergic to benzoyl peroxide, so the Proactiv toner increased my redness and caused inflammation. Murad was incredibly harsh, and my entire face peeled off (literally) for weeks the second day I used it, so that wasn't good. I've also tried the Shiseido Pureness line, which I definitely don't recommend because it's pricey and does absolutely nothing. The Dermalogica line (sold at Ulta I think) doesn't work either, and neither does the Philosophy acne kit. I haven't tried the Peter Thomas Roth kit, but I have heard good things about that one!


Anyway, as far as facewashes go, my experience is that it really doesn't matter which one(s) you use as long as they get your skin clean. The important thing is to get all of your makeup off so that when you wipe your face with a cotton pad and toner afterwards, you don't see any yellowy or dark residue. If you see residue, that means there's leftover impurities still on your skin that could cause breakouts. 


Do you own a Clarisonic? I finally caved and bought one a couple months ago, and while I don't think it's a miracle product, I think that it has helped in keeping my skin clean and evening out the texture and tone. If you wear makeup on a daily basis, I'd say wash your face twice, the first time just using your hands to massage in the cleanser and rinsing it off, and the second time with the Clarisonic to make sure all your makeup is off. Even if you don't have a Clarisonic, I still recommend washing your face twice if you don't use a makeup remover first.


For toners, I agree with Manda in that you might be irritating your skin. 14% is pretty high an alcohol content, and you could be stripping your skin without your knowing it and it could be trying to compensate for the dryness by producing more oil and thus clogging more pores. I'd recommend maybe switching to something a little less harsh. I used to use Mario Badescue's Special Cleansing Lotion C and while it was cleansing, it also contained alcohol (I'm not sure the percentage) and that got a little harsh too. Right now I'm using the SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion: and while it's super pricey, I think it's doing a good job of not stripping my skin but still cleansing it and keeping breakouts at bay. It's not perfect, and the price kills me, but it's doing a good job so far.


I recommend checking out Mario Badescue. Their products are pretty affordable and some have worked for me in the past. If you've ever tried Kate Somerville's EradiKate spot treatment, Mario Badescue makes a very similar one called the Drying Lotion. They also have a Buffering Lotion for cystic breakouts, and I find that one worked really well for me. They also have a Drying Cream with sulphur for drying up existing pimples, although I find that is a little too drying for me and can cause flakiness.


Oh that reminds me of something else: exfoliating! I agree with nebel that the apricot scrub you're using might be a little harsh and irritating for your skin. I've used it before, and I also found that it didn't do the greatest job of exfoliating away dead skin cells. Right now I'm using a combination of Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate and an Asian exfoliator called Cure Aquagel. ExfoliKate uses enzymes to peel away the top layer of your skin and get rid of sebum, which lessens bacteria and helps with pore clogging, but it can also leave your skin a little red. Be sure to follow the directions for this if you do get it! Cure Aquagel, on the other hand, works to purely lift away dead skin from the surface, and it really is an amazing product. You should look it up!


Sorry this was super long, but hopefully you find what you're looking for! (:

Re: Best acne kit?

Oh and I forgot to mention, if you're not allergic to benzoyl peroxide like I am, I've heard about a really good acne line by Jan Marini. You can read reviews 


I go to an esthetician because my breakouts cause me that much grief, and I've heard a lot of estheticians recommend Jan Marini's line. 


Also, if you have the time and money, I really really recommend going to an esthetician. It will be painful at first, but I promise that the results will be worth it. Extractions and cleaning out your breakouts will absolutely suck because they basically have to open up the pimples and extract all the pus and bacteria inside, but that's the most efficient and quickest way to get the impurities out. Then the products you're using can sink in more quickly and be more effective. But each esthetician visit is super super pricey, so it really depends on if you have the time and money for that course of treatment.

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